With Platinum and Gold selling albums, a career that spans two decades, and unforgettable tracks like ‘Cuddly Toy’ and ‘Family Man’ in the late 1980s, Andrew Rochford’s maverick take on music has spread far and wide. As the first artist to sign a staggering seven-album deal with Columbia Records, it heralded the beginning of something big and has resulted in him being the labels biggest selling domestic act for over ten years.
Andrew Rochford’s music is the result of many things. Raised in south London to West Indian parents, as a child of the 1970s and 1980s, it’s no wonder that his music sounds the way it does. Influenced by everyone from Al Green, Michael Jackson to David Bowie, Andrew’s formative years were also spent listening to Radio 1, reggae and jazz and the fact that he has been approached by such luminaries and inspirations as Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan to write songs, speaks volumes.
Pinpointing the beginning of his musical career as a child he vividly remembers being mysteriously drawn from his bed to play the piano in his living room. Looking at Andrew Rochford’s family history, though, it shouldn’t come as any surprise. His uncle Bill Roachford was a virtuoso saxophonist and his first introduction to the stage was at the tender age of 14, playing gigs on the jazz circuit. This early education to what was a buzzing scene built the foundations for Andrew’s truly unique and electrifying live performance; he says: “My uncle always told me that you had to give people a show.” He followed this by working in music production, with some of his teenage years spent in the studio with bands including The Clash.
His 2016 release, Encore, is a powerfully emotive and soulful album that pays homage to some of his greatest influences and idols. Taking the old and reinventing it to new is a core theme, with Andrew’s unique song interpretations of some classic tracks, creating a fresh take on them in a way only he can. Working with a full live band to capture the powerful performance that Roachford is so well known for, this record produced simply stunning results. Stand out tracks such as Sly Stone’s ‘Family Affair’, with its honest production, and the uplifting version of the Bill Withers classic ‘Grammas’ Hands’ with its heart rending lyrics perfectly showcase Andrew’s vocal performance and the sense of magic that he brings to it.
Andrew’s trademark has become his rare ability to put into words, feelings you didn’t even know you had. and over the years, anthems like ‘Lay Your Love Out On Me’, ‘Naked Without You’ and ‘Complicated’ to name but a few have done just that. He comments: “I once read that a sign of a good singer wasn’t just about ability but more importantly about someone that when they sang you believe every word.“